Keep the Skinny Birds Flying Safely
DESCRIPTION: NC41VT is a 1941 FP-65, S/N 875, with an STC’d Franklin 90 installation, completed by Angelo Forte in the mid-50’s, turning a Flottorp wood prop. She has fresh Polyfiber covering and finish with the factory red and silver color scheme (ball with 2 stripes on each side). Medium weight fabric was used throughout, with heavy weight fabric used on the belly and lower surfaces of the horizontal stabilizers and elevators. The instrument panel is the deluxe version, made to factory print. All instruments have been overhauled by Keystone. The airframe has all the floatplane mods, per ATC 720 and factory drawings, giving her a gross wt. of 1325 pounds (EW is 835 pounds), and should perform well off Edo 1320’s with 90 HP. She holds 13.5 gal of gas. The airframe has 2270 hours and the engine is NOS with only 340 hours on it. The carb was gone through and has the new brass float. The old Eiseman mags still spark. It has a new windshield from LP Aero, fresh Lexan and Plexi in the skylight and side windows, new 4130 wing struts, and new ¼” ply floorboards and rear cabin bulkhead. All wood is sealed with Polyfiber epoxy varnish (except the floorboards have spar varnish). All metal parts are primed with Polyfiber epoxy under a topcoat of Polyfiber enamel. There is no electrical system, but wires are in the wings and tail for nav and landing lights. All major work and owner-manufactured parts are covered under signed and submitted 337’s. All the logs are there from first flight on 13 January 1941, as well as some old magazine articles about NC41VT and other misc. documentation. The registration is current, but you can re-register it with a different N#, if you wish. She’s a working girl, not a glossed up show queen, and has a LOT to teach anyone who flies her.
HISTORY: From looking at the logs, she’s spent most of her active life in New Jersey and has changed hands about a dozen or so times. In the mid 50’s, she was parked and abandoned at North Philadelphia Airport for a few years until Angelo Forte bought her in partnership with a friend, took her back home to New Jersey, lovingly rebuilt her, installed the Franklin 90, and reregistered her as N117F.
In the late 70’s, she was purchased by a man who hoped his two sons would learn how to fly in her. One of them smashed the right wing in the process, so she was dismantled and parked in their yard. Fearful the wind might blow her around, she was chained to a tree, where she was noticed a year later by a flying couple named Tedrow. They bought the wreck and took it home, lovingly rebuilding her in 1983. They reregistered her as NC41VT (for 1941 and Vivian Tedrow), but apparently had little use for the FAR’s, as there is little mention of their work in the logs. Regardless, the results were quite pretty and she was featured in many magazines in ‘84 and ‘85. At one of the many fly-ins they attended, someone sold them a new Franklin 90, still in the can, which they installed in ’85. It burns 3 gph at 2050 rpm, going 80 mph.
Vivian’s husband died in the late 90’s and she sold 41VT to their aircraft mechanic. He was up flying one day and shut the engine down to perform a deadstick landing in a friend’s pasture, only to discover that there were several inches of water and mud hidden beneath the grass. The mains sunk in and she went over on her back. He brought her back to his hangar, intending to rebuild her, but was too busy, so he sold her to me in January of 2003.
I soon realized that the Tedrows had cobbled parts of her together, so a frame-up restoration was commenced. All the non-original parts were removed. I was able to acquire enough Porterfield drawings to replace or rebuild the rudder, fin, struts, fuselage, wings, and instrument panel. The engine was gone over and found to be in excellent condition internally, and new baffling was cut for it. The original aluminum nosebowl was sent out to a specialist for a $1900 nosejob. My job and a relationship with an equestrian were taking up my spare time and work on 41VT became sporadic at best, so Paul “Pokey” Gordon in Helena, MT, covered and painted her for me. She was then moved about 30 miles south, to Boulder, MT, where Tim Talen, a master antique aircraft restorer, carefully inspected all of the work done on her, finished her up, and flew her on 04 July 2013. I’m now flying her back east.
41VT is for sale for $25,000 from me, Andy Gelston, firstname.lastname@example.org, (802) 735-4565, as my son is in college and soon to be short on tuition. She comes with a tub of documentation and a box of accessories.
SQUAWKS: 1) I could smell gas in the cockpit and eventually traced it to a leaking primer fitting, tightened it, but can still smell a bit of gas, though not like it was. This may be residual, or gas is weeping somewhere else.
2) There’s a broken capstrip on the 3rd rib in the left wing that will need repair. Fortunately, it’s accessible.
3) There’s a small tear on the upper surface of the right wing that needs a “postage stamp” patch doped over it.
4) There’s a scrape on the left wingtip, aileron, and elevator that needs to be touched up or taped over with dope.
5) Flying straight and level in cruise requires a bit of right rudder.
6) The brakes are original Shinn mechanical, not Cleveland hydraulic. They hold well, but require familiarity.
7) The door window is developing a small crack that will need to be stop-drilled.